Prodigy -- Marie Lu
Book 2 of Legend trilogy
2013 Release -- Putnam Juvenile
Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Romance
The intensity of Prodigy is much more prominent in this second book of the Legend trilogy; though I have to admit, it took some time to get the excitement of the story going. While the first book lacked a solid world history and building, Prodigy makes up for it by finally giving us an idea of how the United States of America ended up in the chaos that is a divided country--The Republic to the west and the Colonies of America to the east. And fortunately, the history lesson we get through Day’s and June’s separate respective parts of their journey don’t feel like a textbook infodump.
Some of it still feels a little sketchy and requires a stretching of one’s willingness to suspend disbelief--such as the sun going haywire for a few years and melting all of the Antarctic’s ice and snow, thus causing a savage flood of the eastern coastline of North America, with a domino effect leading to the chaos that eventually required martial law to control the mass of panic from the people… (Yeah… I’m still processing that one.) … And then creating what is now an American broken into two separate countries, each with their own fallacies.
But at least the world of Legend now has some solid background to stand on so that the rest of the story can move forward; now we can know what June and Day will be fighting for after learning why the States are in such a terrible mess.
Unfortunately, Prodigy slightly suffers from what I like to denote as either the “Sequel Syndrome” or the “Hardships of the Bridging Book in a Trilogy”. As the second book, Prodigy not only needs to pick up where Legend left off and take the entire trilogy where it needs to go, but it must also give us that open-ended conclusion that tells us that there is still a final conclusion to be had in another whole book of 300+ pages or more (and do it without dragging or ending in an abrupt cliffhanger).
Prodigy felt slightly directionless after June and Day arrive at the Patriot’s headquarters despite the fact that the action never ceased moving forward. But the beginning of this book simply felt like it dragged on for quite some time until both June and Day were deposited in their respective assigned roles in the pending revolution against the Republic.
Afterwards, everything rushed forward in an extremely fast-paced, exciting adventure for our heroes, and I will admit that I finally got to the point where I couldn’t put the book down. It was unfortunate that we get a too open-ended conclusion--despite NOT being an abrupt cliffhanger, the end was still a cliffhanger, nonetheless.
An Official Blurb via Amazon:
June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.
It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.
But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?
I’d hate to admit that the plot was quite predictable from the moment that June and Day set foot in the Patriot’s headquarters, but it most certainly was. It wasn’t difficult to sum up exactly what would happen from that moment forward and determine who June and Day could trust and who they couldn’t trust and what they needed to do to move forward for the greater good of the common people.
Because as exciting and suspenseful as all the fast-paced events leading up to the ending hour were, Prodigy proved to be little different from the typical dystopian bridge book in any of the currently trending Young Adult dystopian trilogies. The only thing that sets Prodigy apart from the rest is that it DOES indeed have a solidly built foundation and extremely good writing to take us through the story. The descriptions and imagery are excellently done and the characters are unique, even if they seem insignificant.
The only complaint I have (aside from the slow start) are the typical, standard YA tropes thrown in for a nice angsty feel and further complicated messes of relationships. While it’s not a big one and while it doesn’t really bother me too much, there is a full blown love rectangle inserted, however insignificant it may be and however useless it actually feels.
I get the reasoning behind turning the young Tess into a potential love interest for Day, as well as Anden for June. There’s a social divide between Day and June consisting of money, family status, and how both of them grew up. But was a rectangle really necessary, because I don’t see any reason to insert romantic interests just to hammer home the fact that June and Day are from two different worlds; they do a good enough job of struggling with this on their own, and in the end, the entire ideal is moot anyway.
And then there's the ending of the book which
Yes, Ms. Lu definitely went there, using a typically exhausting reason to separate our couple. Again, was this really a necessary development? I don’t know and I guess we’ll have to find out in the last book.
Although I’m going to flat out admit that those angsty tearjerker moments throughout really did work, even if the ending one didn’t.
Mainly, I have this love for the constant presence of the deceased Metias throughout the book in June’s dreams and memories--one of few occasions in any story where a beloved character is one who is only physically present for an extremely short time, but whose essence continues to linger through his loved one and still manage to evoke a waterfall of FEELS from me in waves.
Is it strange that one of my favorite characters in this entire trilogy so far (and probably my most favorite character overall) is one who barely showed up in the story and dies within the first few chapters of the very first book? Maybe it helps that Metias’ life and his death catapulted almost everything that drives June’s actions.
Finally, a cliffhanger. Yeah. I should have seen in coming because the cliffhanger from the second book in a trilogy is always the one that hurts the most.
This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):